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Steamed Milk Buns

Steamed Milk Buns


2 tablespoons caster sugar
¼ teaspoon dried yeast
200ml warm water
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon good quality peanut oil, plus extra brushing


Place the sugar and yeast in a small bowl and pour over the warm water. Leave in a warm place until the yeast is frothy, about 5 minutes. 

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the peanut oil. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix until you have a dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Remove the dough and place on the bench top and knead by hand until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Try not to knead for any longer as you are not wanting gluten to form as you would with your daily bread.

Wash and dry the mixing bowl, lightly oil and place in the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough in half. Cover 1 half with plastic wrap and set aside. Divide 1 half of the dough into 5 even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a bun shape and place on a piece of baking paper as you go. Lightly brush with peanut oil and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to prove for about 15 minutes or until they increase in size (half of their original size again). Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

When ready to steam – place a bamboo steamer on top of a wok filled with enough water to prevent it boiling dry. Place a piece of baking paper in the base of the bamboo steamer.

Lift the first 5 buns into the steamer, making sure they are well apart. Place on the bamboo lid and steam for 10-12 minutes until puffed. They should also sound hollow when you tap them on their base. Carefully remove the bamboo steamer from the wok and lift out the steamed buns. Steam the remaining 5 buns.

Work in a warm kitchen. If the yeast is taking too long to activate, start again. The water is better on the hotter side of warm.

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